It’s February, the month of hearts, candy, flowers, cards, gifts and love. Many people think Valentine’s Day is a holiday perpetrated by several commercial enterprises. In truth, Valentine’s Day has been celebrated as far back as the ancient Roman ritual of Lupercalia. The history is unclear about who St. Valentine was and how he became associated with this rite. The different theories on who and how this romantic day evolved makes for interesting reading. The one thing we know for sure is that this special day has lasted for centuries.
As a child, I fondly remember taking a shoe box to school and decorating it with cut-out hearts and lace doilies in anticipation of it being filled with valentines from classmates. Even then, the girls secretly hoped for a special valentine from a boy they liked; the boys pretending not to notice the girl’s reaction.
I doubt, with COVID still hanging around, that schools will be having any parties. I hate all the things our young people have missed this past year. So many fun-filled events they won’t have a memory of. As grandparents, whenever possible, we can take it upon ourselves to make these days for our grands as special as possible.
If you live near your grands and are able to see them face-to-face, there are several projects you can work on together. Plan a day to bake and decorate cupcakes and/or cookies. If you don’t have any already, buy a few cookie cutters appropriate for the day. Have on hand several decorating items, such as frosting, candies, sprinkles, food coloring, etc. Lay out paper or a throw- away tablecloth—little people tend to be messy—and let the good times roll.
You can also help them decorate a box for some special valentines from you that you can secretly put in their new box. Have items to wrap the box—wrapping paper is always good, but you can use aluminum foil, parchment paper, tissue paper or whatever you have that will cover it. I also like to have some child’s scissors, construction paper, colored felt, glue sticks, doilies, stickers, crayons and washable markers, so the children have choices to use in their creative endeavors.
These items can also be used to make special cards for their parents. While cleaning out my parents’ home, my sister and I found several homemade cards that my mom had kept. There is something endearing about a child giving a gift he or she had made and are so proud of. No matter how it turns out, it came from their heart. Again, while making cards, cover the work space, so the glue, and possibly glitter, make for an easier clean-up. Help them where need be, but let them take the lead in the process.
These ideas are clearly for the young ones. For the older grands, or the ones that you aren’t able to be with, send a small token to let them know you are thinking of them. A gift card is always appreciated if you don’t know what or can’t find something they would like. Another idea is promising a special outing with them the next time you are together. It gives you the opportunity to learn what their interests are, what’s important to them, what they’ve been doing, etc.
I love spending this kind of time with my grandchildren. Not only is it quality time, but it makes for a bonding experience and wonderful memories that will bring a smile to my face for many, many years, as well.